WACA Ground

The WACA is a sports stadium in Perth, Western Australia. The stadium's name derives from the initials of its owners and operators, the Western Australian Cricket Association.
The WACA has been referred to as Western Australia's "home of cricket" since the early 1890s, with Test cricket played at the ground since the 1970–71 season. The ground is the home venue of Western Australia's first-class cricket team, the Western Warriors, and the state's Women's National Cricket League side, the Western Fury. The Perth Scorchers, a Big Bash League franchise, played home matches at the ground until 2019. The Scorchers and Australian national team have shifted most matches to the nearby 60,000-seat Optus Stadium.
The pitch at the WACA is regarded as the quickest and bounciest in the world. These characteristics, in combination with the afternoon sea-breezes which regularly pass the ground, have historically made the ground an attractive place for pace and swing bowlers. The outfield is exceptionally fast, contributing to the ground seeing some very fast scoring – as of February 2016, four of the nine fastest Test centuries have been scored at the WACA. The WACA has also hosted 7 scores of 99 in Test cricket - the most of any ground in the world.
Throughout its history, the ground has also been used for a range of other sports, including athletics carnivals, Australian rules football, baseball, soccer, rugby league, rugby union, and international rules football. However, recent years have seen most of these activities relocated to other venues. It has also been used for major rock concerts.

Early history

William Henry Wise, a gardener who came to WA from England in 1880, laid the first turf wicket at the WACA. Wise was personal gardener to Sir George Shenton, of Crawley. In addition to his work at the WACA Ground, he laid the first tennis court on the Perth Esplanade.
The Western Australian Cricket Association was officially established on 25 November 1885 under the Presidency of JCH James. In 1893, the WACA ground was officially opened, occupying a site of old swamp land to the east of the city. The association has a 999-year lease over the land. The long term of the lease means that, effectively, the association has freehold title. Originally, the title covered 29 acres, and took in what is now Gloucester Park. However, the latter part of the land was divested to the Trotting Association in the early 1920s. Between 1977 and 1979, World Series Cricket matches were played at Gloucester Park because the Kerry Packer-led organisation was not granted access to the WACA.
The first match played on the turf wickets took place in February 1894. However, difficulties encountered in transporting teams to Western Australia meant that the ground was not part of Australia's main cricket community for many years. Even with the building of a transcontinental railway, the trip from the eastern states still took several days. It took the introduction of scheduled flights to Western Australia to make the WACA readily accessible to interstate or overseas teams.
James Gardiner, president of the WACA for three terms between 1897 and 1924, proposed the adoption of 'electorate' cricket whereby teams were established on a district basis for competition. He also inaugurated Country Week cricket, during which country teams compete against each other. In 1907, the WACA ground was under threat of being controlled by the Perth City Council to recover debts. Gardiner led the bid to save the ground and secured a government loan. Further financial difficulties led Gardiner to again raise funds and donations with a cricket match by the Australian XI team in 1912.

Ground developments

The WACA ground, like many stadiums of its era, has undergone various re-developments. The most notable are:
These redevelopments also made the venue an attractive venue for sports other than cricket, and it was during the late 1980s and early 1990s that the ground saw its greatest use as a multi-sports venue. From 1987 to 2000, the ground was used by the West Coast Eagles, and from 1995 by the Fremantle Dockers, both Western Australian-based AFL teams. 72 AFL matches were held at the ground during this time. From 1995 to 1997 the WACA also served as the home ground for the Western Reds rugby league team. In the late 1990s the ground played host to the Perth Heat in the former Australian Baseball League.
However, for various reasons these sports moved away from the WACA, and as a consequence the WACA was again redeveloped in 2002. The capacity of the ground was reduced to around 20,000 and the dimensions of the playing arena were also decreased by a total of 31 metres at the eastern and western boundaries, meaning Australian rules football could no longer be played at the ground. From time to time, temporary stands are used to boost the ground's capacity to 24,500.
In 2013, a new video screen was installed at the WACA near the old scoreboard, replacing one of the old temporary screens.
In 2019, the Western Australian Government provided a $100,000 grant to the Western Australian Cricket Association to construct two new change rooms under the Lillie Marsh Stand to support women's cricket in the state. Construction is set to be complete for the change rooms in time for the 2020 ICC Women's T20 World Cup.
The WACA Museum features exhibits about Western Australian cricket.

Proposed further development

In April 2007 the Western Australian Cricket Association announced a $250m redevelopment of the stadium. Seating capacity was to be increased, with residential and commercial buildings built in the surrounding areas. The project was to be done in partnership with Ascot Capital Limited with a three- to four-year time frame. WACA members gave final approval for the project in July 2010 and construction was expected to commence in March 2011. However, by November 2011 work on the redevelopment had still yet to commence, and it was reported that delays could continue for years. Although the project received finance, tax office and members' approval, adverse market conditions were believed to have made the project unfeasible. The redevelopment was also the subject of a dispute between the WACA and the Australian Cricketers Association, with the players' union seeking 26 per cent of the value of the project.
taking on Hobart Hurricanes at The WACA Ground in 2011
In November 2012 the WACA and Ascot Capital Limited commenced selling 137 apartments in "The Gardens", a planned 10-story residential complex to be located on the western boundary line of the ground. Construction of The Gardens was expected to commence mid-2013 and be completed by mid-2015. The agreement between the WACA and Ascot Capital would have seen new northern grandstands, an increase in ground capacity and a long term revenue stream. However, in December 2013 the WACA released a statement that it had abandoned the so-called Gardens Development because it was unable to achieve the pre-sales target in order to finance the project.
In September 2013 Cricket Australia announced that the WACA ground would not host a Test match in the shortened 2014/15 season to accommodate the 2015 Cricket World Cup, a decision which left Perth without a summer test match for the first time in nearly 40 years. Cricket Australia said the WACA Ground required significant improvements, given it has the smallest capacity of the five mainland capital city venues.
As of the 2018/19 summer, the WACA Ground is no longer the primary international cricket venue in Perth. Perth Stadium in Burswood now hosts limited overs internationals, Test matches against high-drawing opponents, and domestic Big Bash League matches for Perth Scorchers. The WACA Ground will continue to host Tests against lower-drawing opponents and Sheffield Shield matches. Several years before construction of Perth Stadium concluded, the WACA proposed developing the ground into a 15,000-capacity boutique stadium with improved facilities, though this has yet to eventuate. In March 2019 the WACA unveiled plans to improve cricket training facilities and enable the ground to host large-scale community events. The plans also include a proposal to reshape the ground to once again be capable of hosting Australian rules football matches, notably marquee WAFL matches. The total cost would be $75 million, of which $60 million would need to be either privately financed or granted by state and federal governments.
In December 2019 the WACA confirmed a $30 million grant had been achieved from the Federal Government, likely allowing the proposed redevelopment to proceed in the coming years.

Notable events at the WACA

The WACA has a cricket museum just next to the ground. Visitors can view memorabilia of Australian cricket.
They display not only the history of cricket, but also other sports played at the WACA.